Romantic Novelists' Association

RNA Joan Hessayon Award Contender: Julie Haworth – Always By Your Side

11 July 2023

Photo of author Julie Haworth in blue floral top, shoulder length brown bob, standing in front of greenery.Cover of Always by your side by Julie HaworthChelmsford author Julie Haworth is a contender for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual RNA Joan Hessayon Award for 2023 with her novel, Always By Your Side. The award is for authors whose debut novels have gone through the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) and are subsequently accepted for publication.

Julie writes uplifting stories about friendship and community, bursting with romance and charm, from the city of Chelmsford, Essex. Her debut novel, Always By Your Side, was published by Simon & Schuster UK in August 2022 and won the RNA’s Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award in March 2023. When she’s not busy writing or running her copywriting business, Julie can mainly be found shopping, drinking ridiculous amounts of coffee and hanging out with her two rescue cats.

She commented, ‘I’m thrilled to be a contender for such a prestigious award and I’m hugely grateful to the RNA for their New Writers’ Scheme (NWS). Being part of the NWS provided me with the opportunity to submit to Simon & Schuster UK, which ultimately led to me being offered a publishing contract. I’d also like to say a big thank you to my wonderful publisher, Simon & Schuster UK, for all their encouragement and support.’

Melissa Oliver, the RNA Joan Hessayon Award organiser (and winner of the award in 2020), commented, ‘Many congratulations to the 2023 contenders of the prestigious RNA Joan Hessayon Award. The wide array of authors who have graduated from the brilliant New Writers’ Scheme and have secured publishing contracts this year is not only a testament to the success of the scheme but also to the enduring appeal of the romance genre. Well done to all of you.’

RNA Chair, Jean Fullerton, added, ‘Congratulations to all of the 2023 contenders for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award for graduates of the most excellent New Writers’ Scheme. Once again, the judges have the almost impossible task of picking a winner due to the quality of the books.’

Sponsored by Dr. David Hessayon OBE in honour of his late wife, Joan, who was a novelist, RNA member and supporter of its New Writers’ Scheme, the award showcases a variety of debut novels within the romantic fiction genre. The novels are judged by a panel of published authors from the RNA and publishing industry professionals. Previous winners include Jo Thomas, Charlotte Betts, Lorna Cook and Suzie Hull.

Established in 1962, the New Writers’ Scheme provides support to unpublished romantic fiction authors. Manuscripts can be submitted for assessment and are critiqued by published authors. In addition, the 250 members of the scheme can attend RNA events and participate in  members-only activities and networking opportunities.

The winner of the award will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual conference Gala Dinner, which is being held at Imperial College, London on Saturday 12th August 2023.

ALWAYS BY YOUR SIDE  (Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK)

When school teacher Rose loses her dream job, her self-confidence takes a knock. An unexpected phone call, and an elderly aunt hospitalised, means she must drop everything – including her fiancé – and return to Sussex. But when Rose’s London life finally comes calling, she is faced with an impossible choice.